The conservative as fool

That’s Britain’s Ann Widdecombe, possessor of a very large bonnet which is home to quite a few extremely confused bees – or so it would seem from tonight’s episode of The Bible a History on SBS. I turned her off on the grounds that the series title was patently inappropriate for this batty woman whose grasp of historiography and biblical criticism probably extends to having fairies at the bottom of her garden.  Faith is nice but Widdecombe is on a track that smacks of gullibility, self-delusion and extraordinary disrespect for scholarship and evidence. This isn’t a conservatism worth knowing about; this is just wilful denial of reality. It isn’t faith, it’s cloud cuckoo land. Religion is not served by such naked obscurantism.

Anyone in the 21st century who seriously thinks Moses literally wrote the first five books of the Bible may be many things but “historian” isn’t one of them. It’s even less likely that Moses was the writer of the Pentateuch than the numerous anyone-but-Shakespeares that we are seeing a bit of a cinema-led revival of lately wrote the plays that really were most likely written by Shakespeare – a far more likely proposition than Moses writing Genesis through Deuteronomy.

I am not a fan of Hitchens, and I think Stephen Fry, and I am a fan,  is not being a great historian either in the following exchange which I am not bothering to watch again, having already seen the YouTube, but they do make Widdecombe look a fool – NOT hard as she clearly IS a fool!

All in all a waste of space, the whole episode.

See also I watched Rageh Omaar on Abraham last night (SBS) … and On being in Surry Hills yesterday and finding Nick Jose’s anthology remaindered.

i98FM’s Camp Quality Convoy

This pretty impressive fundraiser is on behalf of a wonderful organisation working with young people who have cancer.

The Illawarra’s biggest One Day Fundraiser is back for its 7th year! i98FM’s Camp Quality Convoy with Marty and Bianca, will take place on Sunday, November 20.

Last year, you helped to raise almost $540,000 for Camp Quality Illawarra, and that, makes a BIG difference to the lives of the kids and their families dealing with cancer in the Illawarra.





Update: Camp Quality Convoy rolls to new record.

They shattered yesterday’s quiet and clogged roads, but could do no wrong in the eyes of the hundreds of roadside spectators who gathered to spur them on.

The Camp Quality Convoy rolled through the Illawarra yesterday with 720 trucks and 700 motorbikes – a riot of chrome, streamers, flags and stuffed animals on the ride of their lives.

Many rigs carried children given licence to honk the horns: none was shy…

Last fruits from Friday in The Shire



The grounds of  Hazelhurst Cafe Gallery, Gymea


Gymea Station


Kiama via Wollongong express train arriving at Sutherland, 4pm.

It’s understandable that people complain about the Oscar as less satisfactory than the old V-Sets they have now replaced. The seats ARE harder, and the peak trains are overcrowded. I was lucky to get a seat on Friday.

V-Sets could come as six or eight car sets, which they quite often did. So even though Oscars have marginally greater seating capacity (on less comfortable seats) the fact the trains on our line are now always four car sets cancels out that advantage.


Interior of a V-Set car.


In service 1970–present

Manufacturer Comeng

Constructed 1970–1989

Formation 2, 3, 4, 6 (2 x 3-car or 1 x 2-, 1 x 4-car sets), 8 (2 x 4-car sets)

Capacity 96 seated (driving cars), 112 seated (trailer cars). 192 in 2-car set, 304 in 3-car set, 416 in 4-car set.


In service 2006 – present

Manufacturer United Group Rail

Constructed 2006 – present

Formation 4 and 8 car – but in the RARE case of 8, you cannot walk through from car 4 to car 5 as the 8 set is just two 4-sets coupled. The Waratah – and I saw one the other day – does seem capable of 6 or 8 car configuration. In fact I see that it has a seating capacity of 896 with 16 wheelchair spaces. No toilets though. Not used on the Illawarra Line.

Capacity 432 seated (four car set – 102 in driving car, 118 in motor car, 110 in motor car with lavatory)